Do Lacanians understand the third derivative?

by on May 29, 2013 at 6:28 am in Books, Economics, Education, Games | Permalink

I continue to read from Bruce Fink’s A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis Theory and Technique.  Here is another bit of interest:

…Lacanian analysis seeks to keep the analysand off guard and off-balance, so that any manifestation of the unconscious can have its full impact.

When fixed-length sessions are the norm, the analysand becomes accustomed to having a set amount of time to talk, and considers how to fill up that time, how best to make use of it.  Analysands are very often aware, for example, that the dream they had the night before about their analyst is what is most important to their analysis, yet they try to fit in plenty of other things they want to talk about before they get to the dream (if they get to the dream).  They thus attempt to minimize the importance of the dream in their own eyes, minimize the time that can be devoted to associating to it, or maximize the amount of time the analyst gives them.  Analysands’ use of the time allotted to them in the session is part and parcel of their larger neurotic strategy (involving avoidance, neutralization of other people, and so on), and setting session length in advance merely encourages their neurosis.

The variable-length session throws analysands off guard, to some extent, and can be used in such a way as to encourage the analysand to get right to the good stuff.

I know some of you are making fun of me, but this is not the least interesting book I have read this week (though I would not want to base very much on it).

1 Andrew' May 29, 2013 at 6:47 am

Again, do these people know what they sound/look like to others? If someone psychoanalyzed them with their techniques would they still use them?

2 Frederic Mari May 29, 2013 at 7:13 am

Was it not that the one requirement one needed to be a psychoanalyst was to have had one oneself? i.e. they’ve been through that stuff as “analysand”…

I mean, I think the only interesting thing would be to check whether people get better durably after such analysis. I dunno. I kind of think of drugs as more powerful and certain but, of course, side-effects are more of an issue. And, to a degree, you CAN reform your own ways of thinking. So maybe it works?

3 Andrew' May 29, 2013 at 7:56 am

My point is simply that if the same tone and tenor of the standard of care of psychologists came out of a memo of Coke discussing their customers it would be a scandal.

4 Andrew' May 29, 2013 at 7:58 am

Another example, how many people who “contemplate suicide” kill themselves? I suspect they don’t go ahead with it not because some psych who happened to be within earshot had them temporarily committed or had their guns stolen.

5 HR May 29, 2013 at 7:34 am

Lacan’s brilliant work is not sadly not well enough known beyond certain circles of English grad students. I think he’s brilliant; I’m glad to hear you are reading about his work. Read Lacan himself, particularly the Seminars.

6 Thor May 29, 2013 at 11:35 am

What makes him brilliant?

I thought his work was based on a marriage of fairly suspect linguistics and an attempt to move Freud towards poststructuralism…

7 Roy May 29, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Don’t worry, almost everyone in the field has read Lacan. He is brilliant, but so is Noam Chomsky, they are both masters of jibberish and the sloppy and incoherent thinking that comes from mixing ideologies in unsystematically and then projecting that ideology on a world with no further revisions at all, regardless.

I have known a lot of psychoanalysts, being a psychoanalst is a family business so to speak, and without a doubt the followers of Lacan are the worst at actually treating patients, and I measure this by outcome not terrible manipulative technique (about which I have heard plenty too). Maybe it is a correlation between the kind of person who is attracted to Lacan being the worst kind of person to be a therapist. Jung is full of it, but I have encountered Jungians who make excellent therapist, I have also met decent therapists who were devotees of Wilhelm Reich, they were bonkers but helped their patients. Psychoanalysis is largely voodoo, but voodoo is often very effective, a good confessor or a decent pastor practices this same voodoo, I even have heard of a Santeria priest and a professional brujera in Matamoros who actually seem to be decent councillors. But Lacanian, no I very much doubt it.

8 Roy May 29, 2013 at 3:10 pm

And no I am absolutely confident Lacan had almost no understanding of the third derivative, his greeatest claim to fame is using math terms incredibly badly, and falsely, and then applying them to his theory of the mind in incoherent ways. He is the father of pseudo scientific babble in modern psychology.

9 Thor May 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Funnily enough, the Lacanians I know are amongst the worst human beings I know: vain, prickly, difficult. (This doesn’t exactly make them monsters, I know, I know.)

10 anon May 29, 2013 at 7:57 am

Let me Tyler-ize the last sentence:

I know some of you are making fun of me, but this is probably not the least interesting book I have read this week (though I would probably not want to base very much on it).

PS. Is Tyrone dead? And what happened to Trudy? They are missed. Especially Tyrone.


11 Claudia May 29, 2013 at 8:30 am

“seeks to keep the analysand off guard and off-balance”

I thought the point of therapy was to help people regain balance. Not sure about my third derivative, but I do not like being jerked around by others and my unconscious is that way for a reason. Btw, are you excerpting the parts of the book you might “base” something off or is this just a test of our filters and utility functions?

12 Benedict May 29, 2013 at 8:38 am

See 20.00 onwards for Zizek, Lacanian, on Lacan as phoney. Awesome.

13 Dan in Euroland May 29, 2013 at 12:59 pm

in the first minute he says that he quite literally believes there is nothing, then says wait that he agrees with quantum mechanics, and there is something.

Zizek is interesting for two reasons. 1) he shows that any dude can pull hot women if their ego is big enough; 2) he literally contradicts himself endlessly, is aware of this, does not care, and has an army of naifs worshiping him.

Zizek understands power and how to use it.

14 meicate May 30, 2013 at 10:26 am

Maybe Ziz is supremely gifted between the bedsheets and word got round?

15 KT May 29, 2013 at 9:52 am

Lacanians are nothing compared to the fast growing field of analrapists

16 whatsthat May 29, 2013 at 10:01 am

Third derivative?

17 aretino May 29, 2013 at 11:00 am

Lacanian psychoanalysis is very popular in Argentina, where more than 1 in every 200 people is said to be a Lacanian analyst. Cf Plotkin, Freud in the Pampas.

18 Chris May 29, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Hi Tyler,

That’s awesome that you’ve been able to appreciate Lacan’s innovations in psychoanalysis via Bruce Fink’s Clinical Introduction! Personally, I can think of no better way to begin exploring Lacanian psychoanalysis as an actual living practice than through Fink’s eye-opening, highly readable expositions (still on my list to read this summer is Fink’s detective fiction). Over the last few decades, Fink has trained many folks, at Duquesne University’s Clinical Psychology program and beyond, in what is valuable and in fact irreplaceable about Lacan’s re-invention of psychoanalysis. Without a doubt, Lacanian analysis constitutes an adventure in a way that no other form of therapy can be!

Regarding Lacanian psychoanalysis vis-a-vis science, there exists a notorious stereotype, historically not without good reason, that Lacanians are inimical to examining, much less considering the biophysiological dimensions of mental disorders / psychopathological suffering. This situation is beginning to shift — many modern Lacanian analysts and theorists are very much interested in advances taking place in affective and developmental neurosciences, making linkages, expansions, and innovations with Freudian-Lacanian metapsychology. Some notable examples of this are Paul Verhaeghe’s excellent diagnostic alternative to the DSM (On Being Normal and Other Disorders) and Adrian Johnston / Catherine Malabou’s recently published Self and Emotional Life: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience. Having said this however, it is unlikely, to say the least, that Lacanian psychoanalysis would ever seek or accept the rubber stamp of an empirically validated form of psychotherapy, as it is ultimately an ethical project centered upon the production and assumption of singular desire, not something that could be conventionally measured by any external referent!

As I see you are an economist, you might appreciate issue 72 of the journal New Formations — Psychoanalysis and Money — which has a nice article by Fink, ‘Analysand and Analyst in the Global Economy, Or: Why Would Anyone in their Right Mind Want to Pay for Analysis?’

19 Eric Falkenstein May 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm

This is not the least interesting blog post I’ve read today. I really mean that.

20 Larry Rothfield May 29, 2013 at 11:17 pm

I assume you know that the other thing Lacan was famous for, besides the “short session”, was for demanding payment at the beginning of the session in cash, cash which he then would count carefully while the analysand was talking. Signalling theory?

21 Frans Tassigny May 29, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Avec votre accord ? votre article traduit par google :

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23 Jay May 30, 2013 at 6:13 am

“Do Lacanians understand the third derivative?”

Are Lacanians the third derivative of the displacement function?

24 FC May 31, 2013 at 1:50 am

Thanks, Tyler. This is definitely the funniest book excerpt I’ve read all week.

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